Have you ever had Mexican food and simultaneously had a bad day? We didn’t think so. When it comes to tacos, there are three cardinal rules: nothing soggy, chewy or bland, please. Because there’s nothing worse than biting into a sad taco. That’s why we’re committed to helping you find the best tacos New York City has to offer. Whether you’re looking for vegan or gluten-free options, from a Mexican restaurant, a hole in the wall or a beloved taco truck, you can’t go wrong with any of these picks. Ranging across the five boroughs, we’ve rounded up 30 stand-out options of the best tacos in NYC for Cinco de Mayo, Taco Tuesday or any old meal.

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1. Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos

A taco is only as good as the tortilla in which it’s served. Luckily, this no-frills Bushwick shop is one part taqueria, one part tortilla factory, which means those corn tortillas are going to be just about as fresh as can be. If you’re having a hard time deciding what to order, we’re big fans of the spicy chorizo and potato number.

271 Starr St, Brooklyn; (718) 456-3422

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2. Amaranto

This sit-down Bushwick joint has plenty more than just tacos on the menu (including the crab meat empanadas, which you should definitely order), but we can’t stop thinking about the steak tacos with caramelized onions and chile de arbol sauce (pictured up top to the left). Yum!

887 Hart St., Brooklyn; amarantobklyn.com; (718) 576-6001

Make a reservation

3. Tacos Morelos

This Jackson Heights taqueria was so good, it expanded into a fleet of taco trucks around Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as a second location in Alphabet City, Tacos Cuautla Morelos. Our pick here is the al pastor—seriously juicy pork marinated with chiles and pineapple. Any of their huevo (egg) dishes are also top-notch if you’re in a breakfast mood.

Multiple locations; tacosmorelosny.com; (718) 947-6381

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Cafe Habana

4. CAFÉ HABANA

If you’re not eating these chicken tacos with Café Habana’s famous Cuban-Mexican street corn smothered in spices and cotija cheese, you’re doing it wrong. Order an extra portion (you won’t regret it) and don’t forget the napkins! For extra fun, stop by for happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at their Nolita location for $5 beers and $7.50 cocktails.

Multiple locations; cafehabana.com; (212) 625-2001, Ext. 2

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Empellon

5. EMPELLON

Chef Alex Stupak’s taco empire includes Empellon Taqueria in the West Village and Waterline Square, but Empellon, located in Midtown, is the must-try spot. Grab a table and chow down on maitake mushroom, lobster or pastrami tacos. Pick up Empellon’s award-nominated taco cookbook if you want to take the flavors home with you.

Multiple locations; empellon.com

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6. TAQUERIA SINALOENSE

Named after Sinaloa, the state in northwest Mexico, you could easily walk right past this tiny taco shop in the Bronx’s Marble Hill neighborhood. In-the-know locals, however, will tell you this is one of the best places in town for tender, juicy birria tacos served with consomé. While you’re there, try one of their specialty smoothies, or licuados, made with fresh juices.

113 W 225th St., Bronx; (917) 261-4146

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Taqueria Diana

7. TAQUERIA DIANA

This spot with three locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn isn’t the fanciest (in fact, it’s more like a hole in the wall), but the tasty tacos—especially the carne—speak for themselves. Known for its San Francisco Mission-style Mexican food, make sure to try its burritos, nachos, mezcal and horchata too.

Multiple locations; taqueriadiana.com

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8. TACOWAY BEACH

On a warm summer day, your weekend plans are pretty much laid out for you: head to the Rockaways, hit the beach, and then fill up on the completely out of this world crispy Baja-style fish tacos (and maybe some elote and fresh juice too) at Tacoway Beach. FYI, this yummy spot—patio, indoor bar and all—is only open during summer months.

302 Beach 87th St., Queens; tacowaybeach.com

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9. RICOS TACOS

There’s no shortage of excellent Mexican food in Sunset Park, but Ricos Tacos is a top contender. Pop into this hole-in-the-wall for $3 tacos (al pastor for the win), $2 taquitos and delicious $3.50 tostadas. Oh, and did we mention it’s open until 1 a.m. every single day?

505 51st St., Brooklyn; orderricostacos.com; (718) 633-4816

Make a reservation

Atla

10. ATLA

Chef Enrique Olvera’s all-day Noho eatery has a diverse menu, offering everything from ceviche and flautas to a whole-roasted fish, but the tacos are a much-welcome addition to any meal here, especially the melt-in-your-mouth suadero tacos on colorful corn tortillas topped with guacachile, cilantro and chopped onions.

372 Lafayette St.; atlanyc.com; (347) 662-3522

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11. TAQUERIA NIXTAMAL

If the homemade corn tortillas and incredible al pastor tacos aren’t enough to get you excited, wait until you try the Mexican iced coffee that puts Starbucks to shame. The shop now also sells three different taco kits to-go! While the original location in Corona closed permanently, there’s a newly opened outpost housed in the Market Line at Essex Crossing.

115 Delancey St.; nixtamal.nyc

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12. EL DIABLITO TAQUERIA

This unassuming storefront just off the Bowery is the size of a studio apartment, but they make some of our favorite tacos (and burritos) in the East Village. The tortillas are fresh, the tacos are large, and the toppings are plentiful. We love the fried fish tacos, which come with pickled cabbage and spicy mayo, and the carnitas topped with guacamole. For $2 extra, add double filling to any taco.

60 E. 3rd St.; (646) 692-9268

Make a reservation

Amanda H./Yelp

13. THE LITTLE TACO HOUSE

There isn’t much you can buy in the West Village for under $10, but you can have a very satisfying meal at The Little Taco House, a counter-service spot on West 4th Street. Order the carne enchilada (spicy pork meat) and carnitas tacos, which are topped with guac, cilantro, onions and salsa. If you’re feeling extra hungry, the burrito platters are to-die-for.

246 West 4th St.; (646) 719-1600

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14. BIRRIA-LANDIA

If there’s one food trend that has taken off in recent years, it’s birria tacos—and according to The New York Times, Birria-Landia has “changed the taco landscape.” Birria is supremely savory, tender slow-cooked Mexican beef stew, which is piled high in tortillas and served with the broth on the side (consommé) for dipping. This Jackson Heights food truck (now with a second truck in Williamsburg and a third coming soon to the Bronx) is the place to go for Birria tacos, tostadas or quesadillas. They start serving their famous tacos at 5 p.m. and stay open ‘til morning for your late night fix.

Multiple locations; thebirrialandia.com

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Los Tacos No.1

15. LOS TACOS NO. 1

Hey, they call it “No. 1” for a reason... Since opening its first location inside Chelsea Market, this must-try eatery has expanded to Midtown, Tribeca, Noho and Times Square. The menu is small but mighty, offering just a handful of tacos and quesadillas. You can’t go wrong, but the pollo asada is outstanding.

Multiple locations; lostacos1.com

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16. CASA ENRIQUE

This upscale Long Island City restaurant boasts a Michelin star, and you’d be wise to venture beyond the tacos and into the creative entrées. But any meal of chiles rellenos and Puebla-style mole tastes even better when it begins with a duo of brisket tacos.

5-48 49th Ave., Long Island City; casaenriquelic.com

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17. YELLOW ROSE

There weren’t many great things that came out of the year 2020, but thank goodness for Yellow Rose. This new East Village temple to Tex-Mex cuisine boasts some outrageously good tacos filled with fixings like bean and cheese, chorizo and chicken verde. The best surprise of all though are the breakfast tacos, which are reminiscent of Austin but hard to come by in the Big Apple.

102 3rd Ave.; yellowrosenyc.com; (212) 529-8880

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18. TACOS EL BRONCO

If we had to give a single award for best tacos in Sunset Park, it’s going to Tacos El Bronco. This is a no-frills joint for Mexican-style home cooking where the tacos are cheap and piled high with meat. The cecina and lamb options are unique and delicious, but one bite of the al pastor tacos topped in green sauce will transport you straight to Mexico City. Plus, all tortillas are made in-house by hand.

Multiple locations; tacoselbronquito.com

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19. ALTA CALIDAD

The next time you find yourself in Park Slope craving tacos and margaritas, Alta Calidad is a no-brainer. The shrimp tempura tacos with cabbage and salsa negra are always on our table. They’ve also got an extensive brunch menu featuring Mexican classics like grilled street corn and breakfast burritos for all of your mid-morning cravings.

552 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn; altacalidadbk.com; (718) 622-1111

Make a reservation

20. HOMEMADE TAQUERIA

As you exit the 7 train in Corona, Queens, you’ll quickly notice there’s no shortage of taquerias, but Homemade is one to seek out. The move here: three taquitos (small tacos), which are served on double corn tortillas and topped with spit-grilled pork, cilantro and raw onions. (Psst: There are a whopping 13 locations in the five boroughs, which are all just as good). Because if it’s not homemade, it’s not the best!

Multiple locations; homemadetaqueria.com

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21. TACO MIX

Can’t swing a trip to Mexico this spring? Not a problem. Take a trip to this taqueria that’s been slinging tacos since 1991 for the next best thing. Started originally as a small taco cart in Harlem, Taco Mix now has four different NYC locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The mouthwatering birria tacos are the real deal, people—and make sure to try the tortas and cemitas too.

Multiple locations; tacomixusa.com

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22. CHILO’S

This permanent taco truck is parked in the back of a Mexican-themed dive bar in BedStuy, with another newly opened location in Greenwood, Brooklyn. Need we say more? The fish tacos are the best here, and they taste even better with a frozen margarita. Vegetarians also love the avocado tostadas or tortas, topped with black bean puree and lettuce.

Multiple locations; chilosbk.com; (718) 676-5245

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Oxomoco

23. OXOMOCO

With its light-drenched interior and green plants dripping from the ceilings, a meal at this Michelin-starred Greenpoint eatery always feels like a treat. In addition to your classic barbacoa and carnitas tacos, you’ll also find some unique creations like vegetarian beet “chorizo” and grilled maitake mushroom with epazote salsa.

128 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn; oxomoconyc.com; (646) 688-4180

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Andrea Grujic

24. Aldama

Newly opened in 2021 with a brand-new outdoor patio with a view of the Williamsburg Bridge, Aldama is an ode to the vibrant nightlife of Mexico City—and you can taste it. Our pick? Try the taco de trompo, a delectable mix of pork belly, flank steak and adobo with pineapple and serrano gel on an heirloom corn tortilla. While the taco selection at the upscale eatery is limited, you can’t go wrong with any of their ceviches, moles or other twists on traditional Mexican street food.

91 S 6th St., Brooklyn; aldamarestaurantbk.com; (929) 298-0233

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25. La Contenta

With two locations, one on the Lower East Side and a newer location in West Village, La Contenta offers traditional Mexican food with French accents—plus, the largest all-Mexican wine list in the U.S. Enjoy the carne asada taco topped with grilled hanger steak, guacamole, pico de gallo and tomatillo salsa, or opt for tacos de birria, de carnitas, de pescado, or de pollo. We also recommend their pan-roasted shrimp enchiladas if you’re a little hungrier.

Multiple locations; lacontentanyc.com

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Social Club Studio

26. Jajaja Mexicana

Stop by any of the four NYC locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn for the plant-based Mexican meal of your dreams. Yep, everything on the expansive menu is void of animal products! Of their street tacos, the buffalo flower, mezcal mushroom and chipotle sweet potato are must-tries. What’s more? They serve all-day brunch at every location. Salud!

Multiple locations; jajajamexicana.com

Make a reservation

Courtesy of Tacombi

27. Tacombi

You’ve likely seen one of Tacombi’s 11 locations in the Big Apple, connecting people to the food and culture of Mexico across all of the boroughs. Their menu offers a variety of tacos—Baja crispy fish, seared fish, al pastor, black bean and sweet potato, carnitas and more—and other Mexican snacks alongside ice-cold beer, cocktails and house-made juices in lively settings.

Multiple locations; tacombi.com

Make a reservation

Laura Jane Brett

28. Nina’s Great Burrito Bar

While Nina’s is known for their burritos, their tacos are just as spectacular. The restaurant tells the story of its chef and founder, Nina Guzman Flores—from growing up in Mexico to opening her own restaurant in NYC—through food. The homey Mexican fare’s highlights include the spicy potato and jalapeno tacos, the crispy fried chicken tacos, and the nacho norteños topped with shredded beef birria and chipotle cheese dip.

522 Columbus Ave.; ninasgreatburritobar.com; (212) 724-5151

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Courtesy of La Esquina

29. La Esquina

For a lively dining experience with fresh cocktails, hip music and saucy tacos, La Esquina is your spot. The coliflor taco, made with roasted cauliflower, homemade guacamole and salsa macha with queso fresco, is their newest addition, joining the bistec con queso taco, the avocado taco, the adobo-grilled chicken taco, and more. Looking for more of a sit-down experience? They recently revamped the dine-in cafe menus at all three locations.

Multiple locations; esquinanyc.com

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Courtesy of Disco Tacos

30. Disco Tacos

Looking for tacos with a little extra flair? Disco Tacos is serving up tacos, natural wine and disco vibes to Williamsburg’s hippest block, straight from the heart of the husband and wife owners. The La Gringa taco, with coffee-rubbed carnitas, chihuahua cheese, cilantro and pickled corn on a flour tortilla, is our pick, but their vegan options, disco fries (shoestring potatoes with Mexican spices, cheese and chipotle), and churro donuts are all outstanding. Stop by for a Spin Day, when live music meets booze, street dancing and delicious tacos. What’s not to love?

80 N. 6th St., Brooklyn; disco-tacos.com; (929) 445-4779

Make a reservation

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